Fri, 09 February 2018
People voted you for Ram Temple, not triple talaq law: Togadia to PM

Timeline  Refresh

23:53   People voted you for Ram Temple, not triple talaq law: Togadia to PM
In a veiled attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the ruling BJP, VHP international working president Pravin Togadia said today that people voted the NDA to power for building Ram temple in Ayodhya, and not for making laws on triple talaq.

He also said the government should pass a legislation to pave the way for construction of the temple.

"People have voted you to power not for making laws on triple talaq, but for the construction of Ram mandir in Ayodhya," Togadia told reporters.

Togadia, who is on a two-day tour of Aurangabad and Parbhani, arrived in the city last evening.

"A law should be passed for the construction of Ram temple, so that it is built soon. Whether to make a law on triple talaq or not is up to the government, but they should make a law for Ram temple," he added.

"We have faith in the judiciary, but since the temple has not been built, a law should be passed in this regard so that it can be constructed without the mosque adjacent to it," he said.
23:43   Hardik Patel to campaign for Mamata in 2019 elections
Patidar leader Hardik Patel on Friday said that he would come to West Bengal next year to campaign for Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in the Lok Sabha general elections.

After his meeting with the Trinamool Congress chief, Patel told reporters that he assured support to Banerjee in the 2019 general elections. 

"I told her I will come here in 2019 to campaign for you, and in the fight against forces attempting to break apart this country, we all will have to unite," he added.

Patel also said the meeting did not involve any political agreement between the two.

"I am not a political leader, I am an agitator. I did not come to strike any political deal or for any other political talk, but she told me that 'if you ever want to join a political party, my party is always open'," he said. 
22:40   Productivity of LS 134.61%, RS 96.31% in budget session's 1st half
The productivity of the Lok Sabha in terms of utilisation of time was 134.61 per cent while that of Rajya Sabha was 96.31 per cent in the first half of the Budget session, according to the parliamentary affairs ministry.

The first phase of the session yielded a total of seven sittings of the Lok Sabha and eight sittings of the Rajya Sabha, the ministry said.

The Lower House sat late on three days and the Upper House on five days during the session to conduct business, it said in a statement.

The motion of thanks on the President's address in Rajya Sabha was moved by Amit Shah and seconded by Vinay P Sahasrabuddhe while in the Lok Sabha, it was moved by Rakesh Singh and seconded by Prahlad Venkatesh Joshi.

It was discussed and adopted by the two Houses.

During the first part of the session, the Union Budget for 2018-19 was presented on the February 1. General discussion on the Budget was held in both the Houses.

Both the Houses  were adjourned today for recess for a period of 23 days and will reassemble on March 5.
22:19   Winter Olympics: Pyeongchang restaurants refuse to stop serving dog meat
Certain restaurants in Pyeongchang, South Korea, have refused to stop serving dog meat during the Winter Olympics.

A government request was issued to the restaurants ahead of todays opening ceremonies to avoid the controversial practice of eating dog meat in front of foreigners and subsidies were offered to change menus for the duration of the Olympics.

Pyeongchang County government official Lee Yong-bae said  that only two purveyors of the 12 in the county have taken up the offer.

South Korean authorities have tried to convince restaurants to change their menus or drop signs suggestive of dog meat during major international events hosted by the country.

The practise has decreased steadily as the country has hosted more international events and younger South Koreans see it as taboo. 
22:07   Ex-SEAL who shot at Osama criticises Trump's military parade
The former US Navy SEAL who claims he fired the shot that killed Osama bin Laden is blasting President Donald Trump's desire for a military parade down Pennsylvania Avenue.

"A military parade is third world b-------. We prepare. We deter. We fight. Stop this conversation," Robert O'Neill tweeted.

O'Neill was part of the military operation ordered by US President Barack Obama that killed the Al Qaeda leader in 2011. He also has been a guest host on a favourite morning show of Trump's, "Fox & Friends," and dined with the President at the White House last year.

Reports surfaced that Trump asked the Pentagon for a parade that would rival France's Bastille Day celebration that he attended last year. Defense Secretary James Mattis said Wednesday that the Pentagon is preparing options for a possible military parade to send to the White House for a decision.
21:44   Angel investor Mahesh Murthy arrested in molestation case
Angel investor Mahesh Murthy was today arrested in Mumbai in connection with a molestation case, police said.

Murthy, 52, was arrested in suburban Bandra, they said.

Murthy was booked on December 29 under IPC sections 354 (D) (stalking) and 509 (word or gesture intended to hurt the modesty of a woman) and relevant provisions of the IT Act, based on a 32 year-old woman's complaint, police said.

A case was registered by the Khar police as the complainant, a Delhi-based entrepreneur, mentioned that the accused was a resident of Mumbai.

The National Commission of Women had written to the Maharashtra police about complaints it had received from several women against Murthy, a police official said.

The NCW had made an intervention, according to which Khar police filed a case against Murthy, under section 354 (D), 509 of IPC and section 67 of the IT Act, the official said.

"After investigating the case, we arrested Murthy today," said Ramchandra Jadhav, Senior Police Inspector of Khar police station.

Murthy is co-founder of Seedfund and founder and chief executive officer of Pinstorm Technologies Private Limited, a pay-for-performance digital brand management firm.

Last year, a business author alleged she was sexually assaulted by Murthy, a claim rubbished by him.

-- PTI
21:28   Padman effect: Chennai-based cinema house offers free napkins
Joining the 'Padman' Challenge to promote the cause of menstrual hygiene coinciding with the release of the Akshay Kumar starrer movie today, city-based SPI Cinemas said free sanitary napkins would be dispensed across its properties.

"Here's our take on the #PadmanChallenge, @akshaykumar! Starting today, vending machines will dispense free sanitary napkins," it tweeted.

"Padman", directed by R Balki, is a fictionalised account of Tamil Nadu-based Arunachalam Muruganantham, who created affordable sanitary napkins for the women of his village.

SPI Cinemas, a leading player in the entertainment industry offering services such as exhibition, distribution and production, said the initiative would be expanded to its other properties located in various cities.

"In the following weeks, these (napkins) will be made available across the rest of our  properties", it said, and share an image that read, "We're here for you PERIOD".

-- PTI
21:06   'Deal me kuch kala hai': Rahul debunks 'Mr Jaitlie's lies' on Rafale
Continuing his attack on the NDA government for maintaining secrecy on the Rafale deal, Congress president Rahul Gandhi took a dig at finance minister Arun Jaitley, and repeated his 'Jaitlie' swipe at him.

Rahul's statement came minutes after he used the jibe on Twitter to criticise the Centre's claim that the UPA government had never released details of defence purchases. He has used the term before to criticise the finance minister.

On Twitter, he wrote, "Dear Mr Jaitlie, You said the UPA never released prices of Defence purchases? To nail your lie, here are 3 Parliamentary replies by the UPA with full transparency on pricing. Now do ask our Raksha Mantri to tell India how much each RAFALE jet cost.#DealMeinKuchKalaHai."

Jaitley had accused the Congress on Thursday of "seriously compromising" the country's security by seeking details of armaments purchased along with the aircraft.

He had also advised Rahul Gandhi to "learn lessons on national security" from former defence minister Pranab Mukherjee.
20:30   Hardik Patel meets West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee
The convener of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti Hardik Patel met West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

After the meeting Patel said, 'I told her (WB CM) that I will come here in 2019 to campaign for you.'

Mamata Banerjee had called up Patel and congratulated him for the impressive show during the Gujarat Assembly in December last year.
20:15   After Padmaavat row, Padmini gets a rewrite in Rajasthan's textbooks
After the outcry over the Sanjay Leela Bhansali film Padmaavat, the Rajasthan Board of Secondary Education will omit some controversial references to Chittors queen Padmini from its history textbooks. 

The RBSE is currently in the process of revising and correcting content in textbooks before the start of the new academic session from April. People familiar with the matter at the board said some changes have been made with regard to content on Padmini, the queen of Rawal Ratan Singh, the 14th century ruler of Chittor. 

According to people familiar with the matter, after consultation, a revised draft has been readied and will be given to the board for approval.

According to the draft, the portion which states that Delhi ruler Alauddin Khilji saw Padminis reflection in a mirror and was smitten by her and later attacked Chittor fort has been removed.

A line that says that some modern historians do not accept Padmini as a historical figure has also been removed so as to avoid any controversy.
JUST IN: Actor Amitabh Bachchan admitted to Mumbai's Lilavati hospital. The hospital has confirmed the report but has not disclosed the reason.
19:29   Trump signs spending bill into law, ending short shutdown
US President Donald Trump signed a stopgap funding measure into law on Friday, ending a short federal government shutdown after Congress let a midnight deadline slip. 

The bill extends government funding through March 23 to keep agencies open while separately raising military and domestic spending by almost $300 billion over two years financed through borrowed money. It also extends the federal debt ceiling to March 2019.

Just signed Bill. Our Military will now be stronger than ever before, Trump wrote in a post on Twitter. 
19:10   PM Modi arrives in Jordan on first leg of three-nation tour
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today arrived in Jordan on the first leg of his tour of three West Asian countries, including Palestine, during which he would hold talks on deepening cooperation in strategic areas such as security and trade.

"We arrived in Amman. I am very grateful to His Majesty King Abdullah II for facilitating flight and access," Modi tweeted after landing here.

The prime minister's visit will begin from Palestine from tomorrow after transiting through Jordan, where he will meet King Abdullah later in the day.

Describing the Gulf and West Asia region as a "key priority" in India's external engagement, Modi said his trip was aimed at strengthening ties with the region.

He said it would be his fifth visit to the Gulf and the West Asian region since 2015.

"This region is a key priority in our external engagement. We enjoy vibrant multi-dimensional ties with the countries here. I look forward to strengthening India's growing and important ties with West Asia and the Gulf region through the visit," Modi had said in his departure statement.

More than nine million Indians work and live in the Gulf region, of which about one third live in the UAE alone. In Oman, they constitute the largest expatriate community, he noted.

-- PTI
19:01   Sri Lanka to release of 113 Indian fishermen
The Sri Lankan government today recommended the release of 113 Indian fishermen arrested in recent months by its Navy on charges of fishing in its
territorial waters, a fishermen association leader said.

A communication in this regard had been sent to the court in Jaffna, Tamil Nadu Mechanised Boats Fishermen Association President P Sesuraja said quoting information received from the Fisheries officials in Sri Lanka.

The fishermen from Tamil Nadu had been detained over a period of time and lodged in prisons in the neighbouring country. Their mechanised boats had been impounded.

The state government had taken up the issue with the Centre last month and sought release of the fishermen and the boats.

This is the second instance of release of Indian fishermen in large numbers since December last year. The Sri Lankan government had released 89 fishermen from Tamil Nadu and Puducherry in the last week of December.

-- PTI
18:49   Pakistan to Trump: Pay for our border fence to reduce terrorism
Pakistan is pushing for the completion of a fence along its disputed border with Afghanistan -- and it wants the US to help pay for it.

Less than 10 per cent of the fence planned along the 2,343 kilometre of mountainous border with Afghanistan has been completed so far due to financial constraints. Even so, Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif said the barrier should be finished by the end of 2019.

"It won't cost them much," Asif said of the US in an interview on Feb 2 in Islamabad. "The war is costing them much more."

Pakistan has come under increasing pressure to act against the Afghan Taliban and affiliated Haqqani network after President Donald Trump accused officials in Islamabad of allowing them safe haven. Last month, Trump suspended about $2 billion worth of military aid to the nuclear-armed nation and accused Pakistan of giving "lies and deceit" in return for years of U.S. funding.

The border fence will stop the flow of terrorists crossing into both countries unchecked, Asif said, adding that Pakistan also considers the return of more than 2 million Afghan refugees critical for peace. He called on the US to assist with the fencing and repatriation of the Afghan refugees.
18:14   Modi suggests 'lunch pe charcha' to popularise budget
After the chai pe charcha campaign during the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday asked his party MPs to hold lunch pe charcha to spread the good points of the Union Budget 2018-19 among the people.

The PMs suggestion came at a BJP parliamentary party meeting where party chief Amit Shah described Congress president Rahul Gandhis behaviour as undemocratic and suggested ways to counter his criticism of the Rafale fighter deal.

Sources present at the meeting said the PM described the Union budget as positive for the middle class and farmers and asked them to discuss its benefits among the masses.

Intervening in Shahs speech, Modi described how he held discussions with party cadres in his parliamentary constituency Varanasi over lunch by bringing his own tiffin.

The sources said Modi asked the MPs to hold such lunch pe charcha by bringing their own tiffin in every assembly segment of their constituency during the Budget Session break.
17:53   Rahul-led delegation asks Prez to set up probe into Judge Loya's death
Congress president Rahul Gandhi and members from opposition parties handed over a memorandum to President Ram Nath Kovind demanding a special investigation into the death of Judge Loya. 

Speaking to reporters later, the Congress president said, "A judge died under suspicious circumstances. It will be an ode to him and his family that the investigation takes place properly. Many MPs from both Lok Sabha & Rajya Sabha felt discomfort over it & also feel that the matter should be probed & an SIT should be formed."

He added that 114 MPs from 15 parties had signed the memorandum. 
17:19   Modi speaks like a BJP leader, not PM: Cong
A day after Narendra Modi launched a high-pitch poll campaign in Tripura asking voters to "throw away" the Left Front government, the Congress today denounced him for speaking like a BJP leader and not a prime minister.

The retort came from Congress General Secretary C P Joshi, who is also the in-charge of party affairs in Tripura which will go to polls on February 18.

"It's very unfortunate that a prime minister did not deliver like a prime minister, but like a BJP leader," Joshi told reporters. Modi held a rally each at Sonamura in Sipahijala district and Kailashahar in Unakoti district yesterday.

"Throw away manik (Sarkar government) and go for 'hira' for prosperity and development in the state in the upcoming election," he urged the gathering at Sipahijala. Modi coined a new acronym 'HIRA'--H for highways, I for Internet way, R for roadways and A for airways--, hardselling the BJP as a tool for ushering in prosperity and development in the state which the Left has ruled for 25 years on the trot.

Joshi said it was for the first time the Congress was fighting the elections in Tripura without an electoral understanding with any party. -- PTI

Image: The PM at a rally in Tripura.
17:11   Bikaner land scam: ED conducts raid at Vadra aide's premises
The central probe agency, Enforcement Directorate (ED), on Friday conducted raids on the premises of Congress leader Mahesh Nagar in Faridabad, Haryana, in connection with the Bikaner land scam case.

As per the ED, Nagar was the official representative of private firm Skylight Hospitality to procure land in Rajasthan's Bikaner district. The firm is said to have links with former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra.

On December 22, the ED arrested Jaiprakash Bagarwa and Ashok Kumar under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) regarding the same case. -- ANI
French National Thierry Gagner, director of NGO 'Hopigo & Missions Humanitaries', arrested for allegedly sexually harassing a minor girl in Puducherry; booked under POCSO Act
16:58   Srinagar hospital shootout: Why were terrorists taken to OPD, asks MHA
MHA sources on SMHS Hospital shooting: The Home Ministry expressed concern and advised the J&K government to look into gaps in jail administration and review security. J&K govt initiated several action to prevent further incidents; DG Prisons J&K has been transferred, Jail Superintendent suspended and replaced.

An enquiry by Divisional Commissioner Srinagar has been ordered to fix responsibility and examine why terrorists were taken to the OPD rather than doctors being deputed to examine them. A committee will submit the report in 15 days.

The state government will also immediately review cases of hardened terrorists for shifting to other jails; 7 terrorists have already been relocated. To ensure full vigilance over terrorist prisoners, the state govt to involve CRPF in all aspects of Central Jail security.

To bring you up to speed, a Pakistani terrorist, Naveed Jatt, in police custody, staged a daring escape from the SMHS hospital in Srinagar on Tuesday, killing two policemen with a pistol handed to him by his Lashkar-e-Tayiba accomplices who ambushed the police team escorting him, police said.
16:37   Centre asks JK to review prison security, deploy CRPF in jails
Taking serious note of the escape of a jailed Pakistani terrorist, the Centre today asked the Jammu and Kashmir government to fully review security measures in place in jails and transportation of inmates.

The Union Home Ministry also asked the state government to ensure that no such incident takes place in future and deploy CRPF in prison security.

"The home ministry has taken serious note of the issue and has advised the state government to fully review security measures and take action to prevent such incidents in future," a senior home ministry official told PTI.

The move came following a high-level meeting which was convened after the escape of Pakistani terrorist Naveed Jatt, who was lodged in Srinagar central jail. He fled from a hospital in the city after some militants shot and killed two policemen accompanying him. Jatt was taken to the hospital for medical checkup.

The home ministry has asked the Jammu and Kashmir government to fix responsibility for lapses and also to examine why a high-security prisoner was sent to the OPD of a hospital. -- PTI
Lashkar-e Toiba terrorist Bilal Ahmed Quta convicted for money laundering under PMLA by Principal City Civil Judge & Special Judge, Bengaluru for hatching a conspiracy during 2001-2007 to wage a war against India.
15:57   House break: Women MPs show the way as LS adjourns
The Lok Sabha adjourned today for nearly a month-long recess amid unrelenting protests by Andhra Pradesh members demanding more central assistance for the state. Members from the ruling NDA ally TDP and YSR Congress went on with their protests during Zero Hour. The proceedings were first adjourned soon after meeting for the day for Question Hour. After papers listed for the day were laid, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan adjourned the House, which would now meet again on March 5. It also marks the end of the first half of the Budget session in the Lok Sabha.

But outside Parliament, putting away political differences, NCP MP Supriya Sule and a few other women MPs took time out to pose for this warm picture. Politics and politicking is strictly for the House, outside it, bonhomie rules. Supriya Sule tweeted, "Adis till March."

This is not the first time MPs faced the cameras as friends and not bitter rivals. Some images from the winter session of Parliament which ended last month.

We like!

Image: Clockwise from left: Harsimrat Kaur Badal (Shiromani Akali Dal), Meenakshi Lekhi (BJP), Anupriya Patel (SP), Kothapalli Geetha (YSR Congress), V Sathyabama  (AIADMK), Supriya Sule (NCP) and Sushmita Dev (Congress)
15:28   Stone-pelting in J-K: NHRC takes cognisance of complaint by Army officers' children
The NHRC has taken cognisance of a complaint filed by three children of Army officers alleging violation of human rights of the force's personnel in recent incidents of stone-pelting in Jammu and Kashmir. In a statement today, the National Human Rights Commission said the complainants have also sought its "intervention for an appropriate enquiry in the recent incident of stone-pelting and assault by an unruly and disruptive mob on Army personnel in Shopian district of Jammu and Kashmir on January 27".

In their complaint, the three children of Army officers have said they were "disturbed" by the recent incidents of stone-pelting and assaults by unruly and disruptive mob on security forces, according to the statement.

The commission has observed that in view of the facts narrated and allegations levelled in the complaint, "it will be appropriate to call for a factual report from the Ministry of Defence, through its secretary, to know the present status of the situation and steps taken by the Union government on the points raised by the complainants regarding alleged humiliation and violation of the human rights of the Army personnel in the state of Jammu and Kashmir".

A communication has been sent to the defence secretary, seeking a report in four weeks, it said. -- PTI

File pic.
15:20   India's healthiest people from Kerala, Punjab, TN: NITI Aayog
Kerala, Punjab and Tamil Nadu have been ranked on top in overall health index while Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir, and Uttar Pradesh saw maximum annual incremental performance among larger states, according to a report released by NITI Aayog on Friday.

In its 'Healthy States, Progressive India' Report, the organisation said Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir, and Uttar Pradesh saw maximum annual incremental performance in indicators such as Neonatal Mortality Rate,  Under-five Mortality Rate, full immunization coverage, institutional deliveries, and People Living with HIV on Anti-Retroviral Therapy.

"Our job was first to challenge states, secondly to do workshops with states and thirdly to put it in ranking. While historical ranking is important, it is very important for us to capture change per year. Best thing was that the eastern states Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh have done very well. They have come fourth and fifth and have moved up the ladder very fast, banking on radical reforms," NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said while releasing the report.

Among smaller states, Mizoram ranked first, followed by Manipur on overall performance, while Manipur, followed by Goa, were the top ranked states in terms of annual incremental performance, due to progress on indicators such as PLHIV on ART, first trimester antenatal care registration, grading quality parameters of Community Health Centres, average occupancy of key State-level officers and good reporting on the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme.

Among union territories, Lakshadweep showed both the best overall performance as well as the highest annual incremental performance, with improvement in institutional deliveries, tuberculosis treatment success rate, and transfer of National Health Mission funds from State Treasury to implementation agency.

The Health Index report noted that while States and UTs that start at lower levels of development are generally at an advantage in notching up incremental progress over states with high Health Index scores, it is a challenge for states with high index scores to even maintain their performance levels. -- ANI
15:06   NGT seeks reply on plea challenging Amit Shah's lakh-biker rally
The National Green Tribunal today sought response from the Centre and Haryana government on a plea seeking reduction in the number of bikes at BJP chief Amit Shah's rally in Jind, on pollution grounds.

A bench headed by Justice S P Wangdi issued notices to the Environment Ministry, Haryana government, state pollution control board and Central Pollution Control Board and sought their replies by February 13.

One lakh motorcycles were expected to be mobilised during Shah's February 15 rally in Haryana's Jind district.

The order came after advocate Sumeer Sodhi, appearing for the petitioner, said that at a time when the entire Delhi'"NCR was facing several health problems due to poor ambient air, the motorbike rally would have an adverse impact on the environment.

The NGT was hearing a plea filed by advocate Victor Dhissa who has sought screening and reduction in the number of bikes which were likely to participate in the rally to be held on February 15.

The plea contended that instead of motorcycles, the state government should opt for bicycles or other environment friendly modes of transport for the rally. -- PTI

File pic. Amit Shah participates in a Tiranga Rally in Mangaluru in 2016.
14:55   Minority status to non-Muslims: J-K to submit blueprint
The Jammu and Kashmir government on Friday told the Supreme Court that the state minority commission will submit a blueprint in connection with a plea to grant minority status to non-Muslims in the state within four weeks.

While hearing the plea seeking to identify and provide the rights to non-Muslims, the state government told the apex court that the commission was taking all steps to make a blueprint in the case.

Last year, the apex court asked the Centre and state government to sit together and deal with the issue.

In February 2017, the court had imposed a fine of Rs 30,000 on the Centre for not filing its reply to the PIL filed by Jammu-based lawyer Ankur Sharma, who alleged that benefits accruing to minorities were being taken away by Muslims who were in a majority in the state.

The plea also alleged that rights of religious and linguistic 'minorities' in the state were being "siphoned off illegally and arbitrarily" due to the extension of benefits to "unqualified sections" of the population. -- ANI
14:50   ICC appoints Indra Nooyi as its 1st female director
The International Cricket Council on Friday appointed PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi as the ICC board's first independent female director. Nooyi will join the world cricket governing body in June 2018 to align with the term of the ICC Independent Chairman, following the unanimous confirmation of her appointment.

The introduction of an Independent Director, who must be female, was approved by the ICC Full Council in June 2017 as part of wide ranging constitutional change aimed at improving the global governance of the sport.

Reflecting on Nooyi's appointment, ICC Chairman Shashank Manohar said, "We are delighted to welcome Indra to the ICC. Adding another independent director - particularly a female - is such an important step forward in improving our governance. To have someone of Indra's calibre is fantastic news for the global game - she is frequently recognized as one of the most influential people in business today, running one of the world's biggest corporations.

"We undertook a global search looking for the right candidate who would complement the existing skills and experience already on our Board. A cricket enthusiast with experience in the commercial sector and independent of the ICC, any Member or state or associated organization were the primary criteria and in Indra we have found an exceptional new colleague and we look forward to working with her in the future."

Indra Nooyi said, "I love the game of cricket. I played it as a teenager and in college, and to this day, I cherish the lessons the game taught me about teamwork, integrity, respect, and healthy competition. I am thrilled to join the ICC as the first person to be appointed to this role."

The Independent Director will be appointed for a two-year term although she may be re-appointed for two further terms with a maximum six-year consecutive period of service.  -- ANI
14:46   3 Army jawans injured in Pak shelling along LoC in Poonch
Three Army jawans were injured in intermittent firing and shelling by Pakistani troops along the Line of Control in Poonch district, officials said today.

The Army officials said intermittent firing was underway when reports last came in. The Pakistan Army continued firing and shelling overnight along the LoC in the Krishnagati sector of Poonch district, the officials said.

In the firing and shelling, three jawans suffered minor splinter injuries, they said. Yesterday, a 45-year-old woman was killed in shelling by the Pakistani troops along the LoC in the KG sector of Poonch. --  PTI
14:29   Javed Akhtar backs Sonu Nigam over loudspeakers at religious places
Veteran lyricist Javed Akhtar has voiced his support to singer Sonu Nigam and said loudspeakers should not be used at places of worships. Last year, Nigam had described the loud sermons from the loudspeakers as hooliganism in a series of tweets which led to a 'fatwa' being issued against him by a Kolkata-based cleric.

Now, Akhtar has made a case against the use of loudspeakers at religious places. "This is to put on record that I totally agree with all those including Sonu Nigam who want that loudspeakers should not be used by the mosques and for that matter by any place of worship in residential areas," Akhtar tweeted. He also gave it back to a Twitter user who called him out for being a hypocrite. "Maen har galat baat Kay Khilaf awaaz uthata hoon. Mushkil yehi hai ke aap dusron ki galti to maan saktay hain Magar apni nahin. (I have spoken out against everything that is not right. Problem is that you point out others' mistakes but are not ready to accept yours.)"

Aktar replied. "Some people just cannot believe that someone can be fair and above communal prejudices because they themselves are not. Ask Ashoke Pandit how many times I haves spoken about KPS (Kashmiri Pandits) including once in the presence of the CM late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and his daughter, Mehbooba Mufti, who is the present Chief Minister," Akhtar replied to another user. -- PTI
NHRC asks the Defence Ministry on the steps being taken on complaints alleging violation of human rights of Army personnel in recent incidents of stone-pelting in J-K.
14:14   Rahul: Parties should unite and support Andhra
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi today called upon all political parties to unite on the issue of grant of special status for Andhra Pradesh and other demands, including the speedy completion of the Polavaram project.

"The Congress supports the just demands of the people of Andhra Pradesh for special category status and speedy completion of the Polavaram project. It's time for all parties to unite on this issue and support this call for justice," he tweeted. Various parties have been raising the demand in both Houses of Parliament, leading to disruptions. The Congress and the TDP, which is part of the ruling NDA, have been at the forefront of protests inside and outside Parliament for granting special status to Andhra Pradesh. They have also been pressing for early fulfilment of all their demands as per the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, after the bifurcation of the state. -- PTI
14:10   Palestine to discuss Israel deal with Modi
Ahead of PM Narendra Modi's historic Palestine visit, Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas said he will discuss with Mr Modi, India's role in the Middle East peace process and the creation of a multilateral forum of negotiations to strike a final deal with Israel.
13:53   Rahul's mindset undemocratic: Amit Shah on PM's speech disruptions
BJP President Amit Shah hit out at Congress chief Rahul Gandhi in his address to party leaders at the BJP parliamentary meeting. Never before in the parliamentary history was a prime minister's reply to the president's address disrupted by the Opposition, Shah said, referring to Congress protests in the well of the Lok Sabha during Modi's over 90-minute speech on Wednesday.

Gandhi's mindset is "undemocratic" and that is why the prime minister had to speak amid disruptions, he said. When Manmohan Singh was prime minister for over 10 years, such a situation never occurred, he said.

Shah also touched on the Congress' attack on the government over the Rafale aircraft deal, saying Jaitley in his speech had touched on its various aspects. "The broader details of the deal have been shared in Parliament. But every detail, including those about its weapons and their cost, cannot be made public," Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar quoted Shah as saying. -- PTI
13:36   Tytler sting: SAD meets Rajanth demanding Cong leader's arrest
Jagdish Tytler sting case: Shiromani Akali Dal's Harsmirat Kaur Badal and Naresh Gujral meet Home Minister Rajnath Singh seeking the arrest of Congress leader Jagdish Tytler and investigation into the matter.

The BJP has already filed a complaint with the police on Monday demanding the arrest of Tytler, after a Sikh organisation released a video, claiming it shows him saying "I killed a 100 Sikhs". The video, which appears to have been recorded seven years ago, was released at a media conference on Monday evening by the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee.
13:24   Defamation case: Jaitley to be cross-examined before single judge, says HC
The Delhi High Court today decided to transfer the ongoing cross-examination of Arun Jaitley before the joint registrar to a court in a defamation suit filed by him against AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal and five other party leaders.

Expressing a view that any matter, including the present one, should be conducted fairly and in time-bound and speedy manner, Justice Manmohan said the cross examination of the finance minister be done by a single judge of the high court.

He further said now the joint registrar's order directing Kejriwal to conclude Jaitley's cross-examination on February 12 becomes infructuous as now the court will decide the date and the relevancy of questions put to the Union minister.

The court has fixed the matter for February 12 before Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw for Jaitley's further cross- examination. The court agreed to delegate the cross-examination of the BJP leader to the single judge after the counsel for the Jaitley and Kejriwal agreed to it.

"I agree to transfer this suit for cross-examination before a court. Lets be practical and allow trial to go on. There are even orders of this court to conduct the matter in a fair, time-bound and speedy manner.

"Now let the court decide whether to allow or disallow the questions. Lets put an end to it as it is going in a wrong direction," Justice Manmohan said. The court's direction came during hearing of Kejriwal's appeal against joint registrar's February 2 order directing him to conclude the cross-examination on February 12 itself.

Jaitley was being cross-examined by Kejriwal's counsel in his Rs 10 crore defamation suit filed in wake of allegations of financial irregularities against him in the Delhi and District Cricket Association of which he was the president from 1999 to 2013. Jaitley has filed the defamation suit against Kejriwal and AAP leaders Raghav Chadha, Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh and Deepak Bajpai for accusing him of the irregularities and has denied all the allegations. -- PTI
13:05   LS adjourns for recess; to meet again on March 5
The Lok Sabha adjourned today for nearly a month-long recess amid unrelenting protests by Andhra Pradesh members demanding more central assistance for the state. Members from the ruling NDA ally TDP and YSR Congress went on with their protests during Zero Hour.

The proceedings were first adjourned soon after meeting for the day for Question Hour. After papers listed for the day were laid, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan adjourned the House, which would now meet again on March 5. It also marks the end of the first half of the Budget session in the Lok Sabha. -- PTI
12:56   Now, another police station in Lucknow goes saffron
A police station in Lucknow has been painted saffron, a month after the Haj committee office's boundary walls were coated with the same colour which stoked a controversy.

The latest government building to get a saffron coat is the Gomti Nagar police station, which is one of the poshest areas in the state capital. Reportedly, a temple is also coming up in the premises of the station.

This is at least the second police station to be draped with this colour. Last month, Lucknow's Qaiser Bagh police station was painted in saffron, which is associated with the ruling BJP.  -- ANI

Also read:  After haj office, now Lucknow police station turns saffron
12:15   Kashmiri youth, who got arms training in Pak, surrenders
A youth, who had received specialised arms training in Pakistan, on Friday surrendered before the security forces in Jammu and Kashmir. According to an official statement, Imran Farooq Para, resident of Budgam district of Jammu and Kashmir, was initially motivated to join terrorist ranks and moved to Pakistan on visa through the Wagah Border to get weapons training.

The training was imparted under the aegis of Hanzallah Adnan and Malik Saab of the Lashkar-e-Taiba on various small arms and improvised explosive devices. - ANI
12:12   Raj Shah makes White House press briefing debut
Raj Shah has made his daily press briefing debut at the White House, becoming the first Indian- American to do so. In his capacity as the White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary, Shah is the highest ranking Indian-American in the White House press shop.

Ahead of his debut behind press briefing podium, his boss Sarah Sanders, the White House Press Secretary, described him as one of the best and the brightest in the Trump Administration. Shah, 33, has held this position since September last year.

"So proud to work with @RajShah45! One of the best and brightest in the administration," Sanders said in a tweet before Shah took the podium in the historic James S Brady press briefing room of the White House. -- PTI
12:08   Shopian firing: SC agrees to hear Major's father's plea on Monday
The Supreme Court today agreed to hear on Monday the plea of an Army officer's father that the FIR against his son, booked as an accused by the Jammu and Kashmir Police in the recent Shopian firing incident, be quashed.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud considered advocate Aishwarya Bhati's submission that the father's plea be heard on an urgent basis. The lawyer said the FIR has illegally been lodged against Major Aditya Kumar in connection with the firing incident in Shopian. "We will hear it on Monday," the bench said.

Lieutenant Colonel Karamveer Singh said his son, a major in 10 Garhwal Rifles, was "wrongly and arbitrarily" named in the FIR as the incident relates to an Army convoy that was on bonafide military duty in an area under the AFSPA and was isolated by an "unruly and deranged" mob pelting stones, causing damage to military vehicles. -- PTI
11:59   PadMan review: If only it had wings
"Although the treatment is understated if compared to Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, its feminist hero ethos -- Ek aurat ki hifazat mein nakamiyab aadmi apne aap ko mard kaise keh sakta hai? -- are almost identical. Menstruation is seldom a part of our conversation in the movies. And PadMan scores for highlighting the shocking disregard for menstrual hygiene as well as unjustified steep pricing of means that offer protection from the same a lot more effectively than last year's Phullu. What PadMan is aiming for is admirable and a genuine concern, but it isn't always above the missteps common to most films of the meaningful genre."

Read Sukanya Verma's review before you book.
11:47   No laughing matter: Renuka moves privilege motion against Rijiju
Congress MP Renuka Chowdhury has moved a privilege motion in the Rajya Sabha on Friday against Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju for posting a video of Prime Minister Narendra Modi mocking her laughter in the Rajya Sabha.

Rijiju had captioned the tweet as "Despite such vexatious laugh by Renuka Chaudhary ji PM Narendra Modi ji didn't get irritated."

Expressing ire over the post, Renuka had told media, "This is degrading to a woman and highly objectionable. I am going to move a privilege motion."

Prime Minister Modi, on hearing the Congress MP laugh during his speech in the lower house on Wednesday, had said that he had last heard such laughter in the serial 'Ramayana.'

The following day, Rajya Sabha was adjourned for an hour over Prime Minister Modi's remarks.  - ANI
11:41   Lok Sabha adjourned till noon as TDP members continue protest
The Lok Sabha was adjourned minutes after it was convened today after protests from TDP members over the issue of budgetary allocation for Andhra Pradesh. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan straightway took up the Question House as the proceedings commenced. Soon members of the TDP crowded the Well raising slogans. "This cannot happen every day," the Speaker told the protesting members.

However, they did not relent following which the Speaker adjourned the House till noon. TDP members say the Union Budget has nothing for the state and have been protesting over it. The NDA ally had yesterday made it clear that it will continue its protest until its demand of special category status to Andhra Pradesh is accorded at the earliest.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had yesterday assured the agitating members that the Centre is looking at all issues concerning the state sympathetically and some decision on a special package and revenue deficit will be worked out in the next couple of days. The House will break for a recess today. The Parliament will meet again on March 5. -- PTI
11:37   Ceasefire fallout
Just in: One injured army jawan of 22 Sikh Regiment airlifted to army hospital Udhampur. Army jawan injured in Pakistani shelling in the Krishna Ghati sector of Poonch last night.
Voting for the Lok Sabha bypolls for Phulpur and Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh, Araria in Bihar. Bhabua and Jehanabad assembly also in Bihar, to be held on March 11. Counting on March 14
11:31   Indian-American killed, another injured in shootings at US stores
An Indian-American was killed and another critically injured when a man opened fire in two convenience stores in the US state of Georgia. Parmjit Singh, a 44-year-old father of two high school students, was shot multiple times on Tuesday evening at the Hi Tech Quick Stop on Burnett Ferry Road, sheriff's officers said. The Floyd County coroner pronounced him dead on the scene.

Just 10 minutes after shooting Singh, the gunman entered another convenience store, Elm Street Food and Beverage, and stole money before shooting 30-year-old clerk Parthey Patel, sheriff's officers said. Patel was in a critical condition.

The suspect, Lamar Rashad Nicholson, 28, was arrested on multiple charges, including murder, aggravated robbery, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm while committing a crime and use of a firearm by a convicted felon. He is being held without bond in the Floyd County jail.
-- PTI
11:06   Is Modi the first Indian PM to visit Palestine?
Is Narendra Modi's visit to Palestine, indeed the first by an Indian prime minister as the government claims?

Aabshar @Scepticindian tweets: Here is picture of first prime minister Nehru in Gaza. This PM just lies. His is not first prime ministerial visit. 
PM Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh at the BJP Parliamentary Party meeting. 
10:50   White House instructs agencies to prepare for possible shutdown
The White House has instructed the federal agencies to prepare for a possible government shutdown as Congress moved closer to the midnight Thursday deadline without passing a funding bill.

"The Office of Management and Budget is currently preparing for a lapse in appropriations. As we stated earlier today, we support the Bipartisan Budget Act and urge Congress to send it to the president's desk without delay," the OMB official said.

Several media reports stated that the OMB official noted that the office is preparing for funding to lapse as a Senate stalemate drags on with only hours until current funding expires.

Some government agencies will run out of money and have to furlough workers if Congress lets funding lapse. A shutdown would be the second in less than a month.Congressional negotiators were scrambling earlier on Thursday to lock in enough votes in the House, on a two-year budget deal that would add $300 billion to the federal deficit. However, Sen. Rand Paul objected to moving toward passing the plan. -- ANI
10:40   Those who believe in language of gun, should be answered in same way: Adityanath
Amid controversy over encounter killings in Uttar Pradesh, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has said that those who believed in the language of the gun, should be answered in the same manner. His remarks came amid criticism over the rising cases of encounters in the state.

"Everyone should be guaranteed security, but those who want to disturb peace of the society and believe in the gun, should be given the answer in the language of the gun itself. I would tell the administration, that there is no need to worry on this," Adityanath said in Gorakhpur.

Earlier, speaking to reporters in Lucknow on the uproar by the opposition in the state Assembly over various issues during the customary address of Governor Ram Naik, he said, "The opposition leaders'...rude, unparliamentary, indecorous and indecent despicable." "This type of behaviour shatters the parliamentary tradition ... Paper balls were thrown, balloons were flown. The use of foul language for the governor by the Samajwadi Party members in the presence of their leaders is indeed unparliamentary and an despicable act," he had said.

The behaviour pointed to the anarchy that was there in the state under the earlier rule, Adityanath added. "These people are yet to come out of their mindset of anarchy -- which they had allowed in the state -- and they do not want the House to be free from that anarchy," he said. -- PTI
10:05   PM leaves for historic Palestine visit today
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will leave for his three-nation visit to Palestine, the United Arab Emirates and Oman today. Noting that this would be the first-ever prime ministerial visit to Palestine from India, the official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, Raveesh Kumar, said, "The Prime Minister will travel to Palestine via Amman. The Government of India and its leadership are very grateful to the Jordanian authorities and leadership for the wholehearted cooperation being extended for the Prime Minister's transit."

This will be Prime Minister Modi's second visit to the UAE and the first to Oman. During the visit, the Prime Minister will hold discussions on matters of mutual interest with their leaders, apart from participating in other events.

Also, Prime Minister Modi would be addressing the Sixth World Government Summit to be held in Dubai, at which India has been extended the 'Guest of Honour' status. He will also meet the Indian community in the UAE and Oman. -- ANI
10:02   Sensex crashes after rout in global markets
Update on the stock market: Stocks suffered heavy losses in opening trade with the BSE Sensex dropping below the 34,000- mark by slumping about 564 points and Nifty sinking over 1.6 per cent on widespread sell-off triggered by a rout in global equity markets.

The BSE 30-share barometer dived 563.51 points, or 1.63 per cent, to 33,849.65, wiping out its gains of 330.45 points in the previous session. All sectoral indices led by bankex, teck and IT slipped into the negative zone with losses of up to 1.76 per cent down. The broad-based NSE Nifty was trading lower by 178.65 points, or 1.68 per cent, at 10,398.20.

Other Asian markets plunged up to 4.24 per cent after Wall Street routed for the second time this week on worries over rising US interest rates. With the volatility continuing to hound equity markets, US index the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 4.2 per cent, the broad-based S&P 500 plummeted 3.8 per cent and the Nasdaq Composite Index sank 3.9 per cent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 3.62 per cent, Japan's Nikkei shed 3.22 per cent, while Shanghai Composite Index down 4.24 per cent in their late morning deals.

Back home, ICICI Bank dropped the most by 2.75 per cent, followed by ITC 1.9 per cent, HDFC 1.85 per cent, Axis Bank 1.66 per cent and Larsen and Toubro 1.6 per cent. Infosys, TCS, Reliance, HDFC BankKotak Bank, SBI IndusInd Bank Hindustan Unileverand Bharti Airtel also dropped up to 1.5 per cent. -- PTI
10:02   Sensex crashes after rout in global markets
Update on the stock market: Stocks suffered heavy losses in opening trade with the BSE Sensex dropping below the 34,000- mark by slumping about 564 points and Nifty sinking over 1.6 per cent on widespread sell-off triggered by a rout in global equity markets.

The BSE 30-share barometer dived 563.51 points, or 1.63 per cent, to 33,849.65, wiping out its gains of 330.45 points in the previous session. All sectoral indices led by bankex, teck and IT slipped into the negative zone with losses of up to 1.76 per cent down. The broad-based NSE Nifty was trading lower by 178.65 points, or 1.68 per cent, at 10,398.20.

Other Asian markets plunged up to 4.24 per cent after Wall Street routed for the second time this week on worries over rising US interest rates. With the volatility continuing to hound equity markets, US index the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 4.2 per cent, the broad-based S&P 500 plummeted 3.8 per cent and the Nasdaq Composite Index sank 3.9 per cent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 3.62 per cent, Japan's Nikkei shed 3.22 per cent, while Shanghai Composite Index down 4.24 per cent in their late morning deals.

Back home, ICICI Bank dropped the most by 2.75 per cent, followed by ITC 1.9 per cent, HDFC 1.85 per cent, Axis Bank 1.66 per cent and Larsen and Toubro 1.6 per cent. Infosys, TCS, Reliance, HDFC BankKotak Bank, SBI IndusInd Bank Hindustan Unileverand Bharti Airtel also dropped up to 1.5 per cent. -- PTI
09:53   Why Nehru vs Patel
"Here is a counter-factual: If Rahul Gandhi had not been Congress president, would the prime minister have spoken recently in parliament of how Vallabhbhai Patel would have made a better prime minister than Jawaharlal Nehru? Narendra Modi first played the Nehru vs Patel trick during the campaign for the 2014 general elections. Why is he playing it again, four years later? Largely because it is a convenient handle to distract voters away from the failures of his own government. The "achhe din' he promised have manifestly not arrived for the youth and the farmers, while "bure din' have manifestly arrived for Muslims and other minorities (and arguably for Dalits too)."

As always, a gem from Ramchandra Guha. Do read
09:42   BJP Parliamentary party meeting soon
Delhi: Amit Shah and other leaders arrive for the BJP Parliamentary Party meeting. The Congress held it's parliamentary party meeting yesterday, helmed by Sonia Gandhi, who reminded party leaders that Rahul Gandhi was her boss too, "let there be no doubt about it".
09:38   Sensex crashes after global markets drop
JUST IN: Benchmark indices Sensex, Nifty decline over 1.5 per cent in opening trade after global markets suffered big drops.

Sensex is down by 501.99 points at 33,911.17.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged by 1,032 Points on Thursday, suggesting that investors aren't ready to return to equities following three days of intense volatility.

The broad-based S&P 500 sank 3.8 per cent to 2,581.00, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index plunged 3.9 per cent to 6,777.16.
09:08   Group Captain arrested for providing secret info to ISI
Delhi Police Special Cell has arrested Group Captain Arun Marwah on charges of providing details of secret Indian Air Force documents to Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence.

A first information report has been filed under relevant sections of Officials Secrets Act, ANI reported.

An NDTV report quoted police as saying that Marwah was honey-trapped by an ISI official who pretending to be a woman on WhatsApp.

Marwah has been sent to police custody.
08:19   Trump, Modi discuss situation in Maldives over phone
United States President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have expressed concern about the political situation in Maldives over a phone call, as they also discussed the situation in Afghanisthan and enhancing security in Indo-Pacific region, the White House said.

'Both leaders expressed concern about the political crisis in Maldives and the importance of respect for democratic institutions and rule of law,' the White House said in a readout of the phone call between Trump and Modi, the first in this year.

Maldives plunged into a political chaos on last Thursday when the apex court ordered the release of nine imprisoned opposition politicians, maintaining that their trials were 'politically motivated and flawed'.

The Yameen government has refused to implement the ruling, prompting a wave of protests in Maldives capital, Male. Maldives' Supreme Court Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and another judge, Ali Hameed, were arrested hours after Yameen declared a state of emergency.

The White House said the two leaders also pledged to continue working together to enhance security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.

'Affirming President Trump's South Asia strategy, they reiterated their commitment to supporting Afghanistan's security and stability,' the White House said.

Modi and Trump also exchanged views on Myanmar and ways to address the plight of the Rohingya refugees. As of now there are some 680,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh putting enormous pressure in the economy of Bangladesh.
00:13   Nelson Mandela rose makes debut ahead of Valentine's Day
Ahead of Valentines Day, the Nelson Mandela Foundation has unveiled an orange and vermilion rose named after the anti-apartheid leader who became South Africas first black president.

The Mandela rose is expected to be sold locally and internationally and proceeds will go to the foundation.

The foundation is marking the centenary of the birth of Mandela, who died in 2013 at the age of 95.
00:03   After #MeToo, models at New York fashion week get changing rooms
New York fashion week opened with models for the first time being granted cubicles to change in, in response to the outcry over sexual harassment and assault.

Sara Ziff, a former model who founded The Model Alliance six years ago, said her organisation has received one report of harassment or assault a week since the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke in September.

She has spearheaded the introduction of changing rooms, ending the practice of having models strip in front of agents, photographers and anyone backstage.

Models have been dealing with these issues for decades, and this behaviour has been an open secret, and now we finally have permission not only to talk about it but to act, she was quoted as telling Vogue.